Túcume is in the desert of northern Peru, a few miles inland from the coast, and is a little studied archeological site on about 500 acres of 26 crumbling adobe structures. It was the final capital of the Sicán culture, descendants of the Moche people who flourished in the region from about 750 to 1375 AD. The structures look like giant melting ice cream cones due to erosion over the centuries. They were built using hundreds of thousands of adobe bricks. Each brick has a stamp which identifies the family responsible for making it. The pyramids functioned as ceremonial and funerary sites. The roof on top is where archeologists are working.
The Sicán people were known for their agricultural achievements and for an advances in metallurgy. They used a lost-wax (mold cast) technique to produce gold ornaments and the manufacture of arsenical copper, which is the closest material to bronze found in pre-Columbian societies. They produced alloys of gold, silver and copper in vast quantities. The wood from algarrobo (carob) trees seen here was used to achieve 1000º centigrade temperatures needed for this work. The fire was created by men blowing through ceramic pipes. It can't have been a healthy occupation.
The Sicán engaged in long distance trade, acquiring prized spondylus shells from Ecuador, emeralds and diamonds from Colombia, lapis stone from Chile, and gold from the Peruvian highlands. This culture was absorbed by the Chimú people who ruled here until about 1470 AD.
Our tour group is headed toward the hill above, known as Purgatory Hill. It is said that the Spanish dressed as demons atop the hill and threw non believers to their deaths below.
We were satisfied with reaching the first lookout, and passed on the upper segment. We could look for miles around the Lambayeque Valley, one of the largest on the coast of Peru.
There is some archeological work being done here. But the challenge in Peru is that this requires careful and expensive work. And when artifacts are discovered, they must be preserved in museums that require funds on a large scale. Much history still lies under tons of adobe in many regions of the country. New locations are still being discovered.